Ongoing Attempts, March 14, 2024: MLB TV Fun Rankings

Which teams to watch on MLB TV this year, the mystery of Blake Snell's free agency, and one of baseball's best mustaches has a new team.

The MLB season is approach quickly. There will be two regular season games one week from today between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. Then the regular season kicks off in full the following week.

Thinking ahead to the regular season, I'm starting to make plans for my MLB.TV viewing. I am a Rockies fan, after all, and even though I am loyal to those bozos, I am also happy to jump around to more entertaining teams and games. I'm also too old to stay awake for a lot of the NL West games, so it's good to have some go-to options for teams that play in the eastern time zone. With that, here is my current top 5.

MLB TV Fun Rankings for 2024

5. Los Angeles Dodgers. With Ohtani and Yamamoto, they would be the obvious number one choice if they weren't on the west coast and evil.

4. Atlanta Braves. They're one of the smartest and most consistently excellent teams in baseball. But this pick isn't even about that. They have Ronald Acuna, the reigning MVP, he of the 70-40 season. Any chance to watch him play is worth it. It makes the Braves a fixture on this list for the same reason that it has been the Angels for so many years with Mike Trout. If I need a tiebreaker for what game to watch, maybe I'll just watch the best player on the planet.

3. Cincinnati Reds. They have a lot of fun prospects and fun young players, but this one is simple: Elly De La Cruz.

And maybe they're not in the top 5, but I'll take this chance to mention the Pittsburgh Pirates as well. That one is also simple: Oneil Cruz.

2. Baltimore Orioles. All of the best prospects. Now they have Corbin Burnes. And it's an easy rooting interest on many nights, because you can cheer for them against the Red Sox or the Yankees (no offense to the Red Sox or Yankees fans reading this, but you get it). Young players are volatile and unpredictable, so maybe this won't work out, but it feels like the chance to watch a team of budding superstars coming into their own as we enter 2024.

1. Toronto Blue Jays. I've got a bias that I need to acknowledge up front. As I have introduced my son to baseball and the occasional weeknight game on MLB.TV, he has picked out the Blue Jays as his favorite team. So now they're one of my favorite teams. I think he might have originally picked them because of their color scheme and hats, but he stuck with them because of Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Bo Bichette. Those aren't bad reasons to stick with a team.

Defending Cy Young winner without a team

Pitching usage has evolved. Workhorse starting pitchers are largely a thing of the past. Teams still seek out "inning eaters," but the actual meaning of that label in 2024 is unclear. These are just some of the ways that starting pitching has changed.

Yet at the same time, so many of the cliches about the importance of starting pitchers hold true. The best teams at the end of the season usually have good starting pitching. Among those best teams, the ones that win in the playoffs tend to also have good to great starting pitching.

Now that we are in the midst of season predictions and projections, the need for starting pitching is atop the list of questions. The teams that have good starting pitching are in a strong position. The teams that don't have a glaring area of need. So, with all of that: what is going on with Blake Snell?

Set the Blake Snell of it aside for a moment. When almost every team needs starting pitching, how is the defending National League Cy Young award winner sitting out there without a team? I understand the factors that complicate his market, and I understand that this year's big free agents have ended up settling for less in terms of dollars and years. Even so, I am surprised that Snell wasn't one of the first players to sign, I'm surprised that some team hasn't made it work yet, and I'm downright shocked that we might be approaching the start of the regular season without Snell on a team.

Maybe free agency isn't so great, eh Scott Boras?

Dylan Cease to the Padres

Maybe you thought the Padres were going to chill out after things didn’t work out last year with their star-studded and expensive roster. Maybe you thought they would take a beat, assess the state of things minus Juan Soto, and make a plan to build around Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis, Jr.

Now we know that it is most certainly not the plan for San Diego in 2024. Word came down on Wednesday night that the Padres traded for Dylan Cease and his gentleman’s mustache, sending four prospects to the White Sox in the deal.

There can’t be much left in the San Diego farm system at this point, but this deal makes sense. The Padres clearly want to stay hyper aggressive. They can do it in this case without having to pay big money for Cease, at least not yet. It gives them a legit stud for the next couple years, and it lets them continue pushing forward with this roster rather than admitting defeat after 2023.

Thursday tidbits

  • Blake Snell might have the Yankees reaching out to him in the next few days here. Gerrit Cole has an ominous sounding injury, and Aaron Judge joined him on the list of spring injuries. Things might not be too serious for Judge, but Cole's issue seems like it might linger. If it does, Snell might make sense for the Yankees. He probably made sense for the Yankees anyway, but the Cole injury might lend some urgency to the situation.

  • How bad are those Colorado Rockies going to be this season? So bad that it’s hard to explain or understand. Check out what Ben Clemens wrote on FanGraphs last week:
    “Remove the top 10 players from 28 teams in baseball – all but the Rockies and Nationals – and look at every team’s winning percentage against neutral opposition. The Rockies are projected 29th out of 30 teams, ahead of only the White-Sox-Minus-10s.”

  • The Milwaukee Brewers have been able to count on an excellent bullpen for the last number of seasons, but they will be in rough shape to start the season with the news of Devin Williams’s back injury.

  • Please give us one more run with Joey Votto, now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Pretty please? Many of us will be watching those Blue Jays on MLB TV, after all.

That’s it for this week. When we reconvene for next week’s Ongoing Attempts, there will be regular season baseball underway.